This is a guest post written by the wonderful Sarah Seppa RD who will give birth to an amazingly guiltless baby this fall!
The other day I opened my “pregnancy tracker” iPhone app and the daily advice was to repeat this phrase, “I am not fat, I am not fat.” I looked down at my new bulging belly and breasts thought, “I just thought I was pregnant.” Negative body image can be a problem for some women during their pregnancies, and it’s no wonder. Not only is it all over the media, with celebs being ridiculed for gaining more that the “recommended 25 pounds,” but it is in the most commonly read pregnancy books as well.
From What to Expect When You are Expecting…
“Watching your weight gain isn’t the only way to give your appearance an edge. Exercise will definitely help by ensuring that the weight you do gain ends up in all the right places.”
From The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy…
“…loving friends will reassure you that your face hasn’t changed at all, and that from the back you don’t even look pregnant. They will say that you look healthier and more beautiful than ever. THEY ARE LYING!”
After being bombarded with all this information you may walk into the world feeling a little discouraged about your body, then to top it off, you have complete strangers groping your belly and commenting that, “you don’t even look pregnant,” or, “OMG you are huge! You must be due last week!”
SO…What is a Guiltless girl to do? Here is my list for tips for a healthy body image during pregnancy…
1) Start off your pregnancy feeling good. Beginning your pregnancy with a positive body image is a huge help. If you struggle with feelings about your body and negative self-talk before you get pregnant, it is likely to get worse as you do gain weight. Talk to a counselor before you get pregnant or very early on, so they can help you to deal with these feelings.
2) Take a prenatal yoga class. Prenatal yoga is not only good for you, but is also good for baby. You will practice breathing exercises and feel grounded and connected to the baby growing inside you. You will also be surrounded by other women whose bodies are changing in the same way as yours, unlike the super lean women in the Lululemon with her legs behind her head.
3) Positive self talk is also a must. Things like, “I am gaining weight because I am a good mother who is growing a healthy baby.”
4) Get some maternity clothes. No use trying to fit into your old stuff. Pack it away and don’t even think about it. There is nothing worse for self-esteem than trying to button pants that don’t fit.
5) Talk to someone. If you find that a negative body image is getting in the way of a safe and healthy pregnancy, talk to your OB or midwife and have them refer you to a licensed mental health counselor that specializes in body image.
Here's to a guiltless pregnancy!